According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are roughly 4,500
workplace fatalities every year in the United States. On top of that,
the BLS says there are an estimated three million other workers who suffer
a serious injury at work as well. While these workplace injuries and fatalities
take a huge toll on the workers and their families, a new report released
last week by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
shows that the full costs of workplace injuries are increasingly passed
on to private citizens and federal programs.
OSHA Report On Work Injuries
The report, titled “Adding Inequality to Injury: The Costs of Failing
to Protect Workers on the Job”, notes that benefits provided by
workers’ compensation programs only cover 21% of the total costs
associated with work injuries. Many states over the years have systematically
cut benefits that workers receive when they are injured on the job. And
with the steady rise in medical costs, others are left to pick up the bill.
Who Pays the Cost of Work Injuries?
According to the OSHA report, the bulk of the costs associated with workplace
injuries are picked up by the injured workers. This often leaves families
with large amounts of debt or forced to file bankruptcy when expensive
medical bills begin to pile up. Private insurers only account for 13%
of medical bill payments. The remaining costs are simply shifted to American
taxpayers who fund federal programs like Medicaid and Social Security
Disability Insurance (SSDI). .
A complete breakdown of who bears the costs of work injuries:
- Out of Pocket (Injured Worker) – 50%
- Workers’ Compensation – 21%
- Private Insurance – 16%
- Federal Government – 11%
- State and Local Government – 5%
Many Workers Do Not Report Injuries
The report also noted that many workers do not report injuries or illnesses
that are work-related. In fact, it estimates that nearly half of all injuries
and illnesses go unreported.
There are several reasons why a worker may not report a work injury or
- Fear of retaliation from the employer
- Job insecurity
- Unaware they were eligible for benefits
Have You Suffered from a Work Injury?
If you have suffered a work injury, you should consult with an experienced
work injury lawyer about your legal options. At Arnold & Itkin, our
attorneys help families all across the United States recover from devastating
Contact our work injury attorneys today to learn how we can help you.